Thanksgiving Meditation

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
     Serve the Lord with gladness!
     Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
     It is he who made us, and we are his;
     we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
     and his courts with praise!
     Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
     his steadfast love endures forever,
     and his faithfulness to all generations.

– Psalm 100

It is interesting to me that the holiday of Thanksgiving began in America and it continues strong today. Still, it seems to be more about turkey, pies, family, good shopping, and football than actual thankfulness. Americans, at least it appears to me, are the most unthankful people on the planet. Now, I haven’t been all over the world, but we have more than any nation in the world and we are, at large, a very ungrateful nation. How ironic is it then, that we make a great deal out of this holiday, yet there possibly may be a family today that sits down at the table this afternoon and doesn’t say a prayer of thanks to the God who gave them all they have.

Abraham Lincoln instituted Thanksgiving in 1863. He listed off so many blessings that the United States had enjoyed, despite a civil war. Then, after telling of the great blessings, he said:

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In the Psalm above, it says to come to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise and then in verse 5 says, “For the Lord is good.” Why do we thank the Lord? Because he is good. That is not just a description of God’s character. Goodness is God’s essence. God cannot cease to be good. Matthew 7:11 speaks about this, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Good things are so much more than a house, food, clothes, a TV, and a nice job. It’s being satisfied with who Jesus is. It’s glorying in God because he is, at his very core, good. It’s loving him more because he loved us first and loves us perfectly.

Today, on this Thanksgiving day, may we, like the psalmist and Abraham Lincoln, make a joyful noise to the Lord. May we enter his courts with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. He created us. He owns us. His steadfast love will never fade. His faithfulness will outlast the world. May we fall on our faces in repentance of our disobedience and thank God for his matchless mercy. May we pray for our nation to seek redemption from Almighty God. Let not this day go by without going before the Lord in deep thanksgiving and praise. For our God is good and he is worthy.

Longing to thank God with you,